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  • Writer's pictureDave Pidgeon

A photographic Ah-Ha! moment in South Carolina

People walk at sunrise near a fishing pier in North Myrtle Beach

THE LOCATION: Cherry Grove, North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

GPS: 33°49'44.5687" N 78°38'11.2272" W

THE EQUIPMENT: Canon EOS Rebel T3 | Canon EFS 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS II

THE STORY: Our journeys often turn on an "ah-ha" moment.

It could be intentional. Sometimes it's serendipitous. A happy accident.

What the "ah-ha" moment tells us, what it reveals to us, is the serotonin-boosting possibility of what we can do with light, shadow, and a camera.

The image above I took in 2012 during a morning walk in North Myrtle Beach. The curve of the North American continent there places the morning sun over the meeting of sand and water (as opposed to rising directly over the ocean).

All I had with me was a Canon Rebel T3 and the kit lens, the one that came in the box, I purchased at a big box store a few weeks after my first child was born.

That's it. No fancy upgrade. No lens costing thousands in credit card debt.

I can't remember, but I'm pretty confident I had the settings on Auto. I wasn't messing around like an image wizard with f/stop settings or shutter speed or ISO, the triangular magic I would later learn as a pro.

That was all it took to experience the "ah-ha" moment.

The tangerine light of a summer morning sun, the laidback Atlantic at low tide, the silhouettes of exercisers, walkers, and shell hunters.

That was when I knew something special had slept inside my creativity and was suddenly awake, alert, and eager.

What was your photography "ah-ha" moment? Where were you and what was it like?

Dave Pidgeon is a seasoned writer and photographer who likes to spend time on the beach side of his mind. He lives in Lancaster, Pa. with his three sons. You can reach him at

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